Imagine that you just spent an hour trying to take a selfie that you like. Maybe you even bought a new fashion forward outfit or just got done exercising to make your muscles look a bit bigger. After 30 different poses you got your perfect selfie. This took time and energy to try different poses, lighting and facial expressions to make everything look just the way you want it. You are so excited to post it and see what compliments you get. After posting and waiting a while the comments start to flood in. There are some compliments about how great you look but in the mileu of comments, a friend posts that you don’t look as good as you used to or you don’t get as many compliments as you were hoping for. Instantly, your flame of excitement burns out and turns into a self-critical mind warp. You are left being self-conscious all day.
It seems most profile pictures these days are selfies and the word has even made it to the dictionary. When the trend started I was nervous. Were we just trying to portray ourselves in a way that would appeal to others? As the trend caught on and selfies became more about making memories, I began to be more open-minded. However, I could not stop my brain from analyzing the pros and cons. I began wondering if this trend was something that would be of benefit or harm. Since selfies are not going anywhere, I thought it would be helpful to give you some things to be mindful of before you upload your next one!
Like anything you do too much of, or do irresponsibly, it can have negative consequences. Selfies can open the door to:
–Attract attention: Not all attention you get on social media is positive. It is important to be prepared to handle criticism or unwanted attention. Knowing how to handle these situations before hand can help create a more positive online experience.
–New preoccupation with looks: If you were not already concerned about the way you look, you might all of a sudden find yourself worrying about it. Don’t forget, life is not about your looks but rather the way you interact with the world.
–Worry more about what others think: If you are posting a picture of yourself and choosing how others see you, it is normal to think, “What will my friends think about my new tattoo.” This can lead to preoccupations with your social media comments and reactions. Remember, it is more important what you think. Be proud of what you are promoting in your selfie and do it for you, not them.
–Over sharing: As stated earlier, it is important to be responsible with what you decide to share on social media. Letting people know where you are and whom you are with at every second leaves you vulnerable. Not every one needs to know you are “out with your whole family and the poor dog is home alone.”
But what about the positives? Used responsibly, it can have benefits:
–Build your own identity: You get the chance to decide how you want people to see you. We are not talking photo shop here! You can portray your artistic, fun loving or adventurous side. Your selfie has the capacity to communicate a lot more than your looks.
–Gain confidence: It’s ok to show off your strengths! Let people see that you can do a headstand or that you won an excellence award. Why strive for growth if we cannot share it?
–Spend more time with yourself: I cannot sit here and say that you won’t think about how your physical appearance looks in your selfie. So, turn it into time for self-care: primp, wear outfits that make you feel good or practice your smile. These self-care tips promote higher self-esteem and make for a good selfie.
–Make more memories: By taking selfies, you are not always the one behind the camera!
So how do you choose whether or not to selfie? Ask yourself:
1. Will posting these pictures make me feel better or worse about myself?
2. Are these photos safe to post?
3. Will I be open to hearing others comments about these photos?
If it makes you feel better and you do it responsibly, selfie it up! If you feel worse or are being risky with your behavior then it might be beneficial to hold off and rethink it.